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Profiling the AFCON teams: South Africa

South Africa have participated in 9 AFCONs. (PHOTOS/AGENCIES)

South Africa will be featuring in their 10th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and first since 2015.  South Africa have won the AFCON title once in their history in 1996.

In the 2019 edition, South Africa is in Group D alongside Morocco, Ivory Coast and Namibia.

In the qualifiers for the first AFCON tournament, South Africa was disqualified due to the Apartheid situation back at home.

The Bafana Bafana were then banned from the AFCON between 1959 and 1992.

The ban was lifted in 93 but South Africa fell short in their attempts to reach the 94 finals in Tunisia.

1996 would however turn out to be a memorable year in South African football as they were selected as hosts for AFCON 96, subsequently qualifying for their first ever tournament. They would go on to win the tournament, their only triumph in the competition.

They were drawn in Group A alongside Egypt, Cameroon and Angola. Bafana Bafana topped the group after winning two and drawing one of their three games. In the quarters, they defeated Algeria 2-1 and went on to seal a place in the final following a 3-0 victory over Ghana in the semis.

In the final, South Africa defeated Tunisia 2-0 to win the tournament.

South Africa defeated Tunisia in the final to win their only AFCON title, in 1996.

In the following edition in 1998, South Africa once again reached the finals but lost to Egypt. Earlier, they had finished second in Group B, defeated Morocco 2-1 in the quarter finals and also got past DR Congo by the same score line, in the semifinals.

Against Egypt in the final, South Africa lost 2-0 to end the competition in 2nd position.

The trend of South Africa reaching the semifinals at the AFCON, continued in 2000. After topping Group B which also had the likes of Algeria, DR Congo and Gabon, South Africa defeated Ghana 1-0 in the quarters.

They then went on to lose 2-0 to hosts Nigeria in the semis and also lost on penalties in the third place playoff match against Tunisia, hence finishing fourth.

In Mali 2002, South Africa were eliminated at the quarter final stage. After topping Group B, the Bafana Bafana lost 0-2 against Mali in the last 8.

This was followed up with three consecutive group stage eliminations in the AFCON editions between 2004 and 2008.

South Africa then went on to fall short in qualification for the 2010 and 2012 editions.

Their next appearance at the finals came in their second home AFCON tournament in 2013. South Africa topped Group A which featured Cape Verde, Morocco and Angola. At the quarter finals, they lost 1-3 on penalties to Mali after a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes.

In the 2015 edition in Equatorial Guinea, South Africa were eliminated at the group stage after failing to win any of their three games, drawing only once and losing the other two.

For the Gabon 2017 edition, South Africa failed to qualify for the finals tournament.

Coach 

Stuart Baxter

Baxter is a 65 year old English-born manager who is the head coach of South Africa since 2017.

Baxter has been South Africa’s head coach since 2017.

He played professionally for a number of clubs in England, Scotland, Australia, Sweden and in the United States.

He has previously managed clubs in Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Japan and South Africa. In international football, he has managed South Africa twice as well as Finland and England U19.

On 4 May 2017 Baxter was named as South Africa coach for a second time, replacing Ephraim Mashaba, who was sacked in December 2016.

Star Player

Percy Tau

Tau is a 25 year old forward who plays at Belgian side Union SG on loan from Premier League outfit Brighton.

He began his footballing career with Mamelodi Sundowns where he made 100 appearances either side of a loan to Witbank Spurs. During his time with Sundowns, he won the league title twice and the 2016 CAF Champions League once and was named Footballer of the year and joint-top goal scorer in his final season with the club.

He joined Brighton in 2018 but, due to work-permit complications, was loaned out to Belgian side Union SG with whom he won the Proximus League Player of the Season award.

Tau has played 18 international games, scoring an impressive 9 goals.

Tau has scored 9 goals in 18 games for South Africa.

Projection: Round of 16

Ivory Coast fixtures at AFCON 2019

-Ivory Coast vs South Africa, 24nd June

-South Africa vs Namibia, 28th June

-South Africa vs Morocco, 01th July

South Africa’s 23 Man squad for AFCON 2019

Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits), Williams Rowen (Supersport), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs)

Defenders: Daniel Cardoso (Chiefs), Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Chiefs), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Wits), Innocent Maela (Pirates), Sifiso Hlanti (Bidvest Wits), Buhle Mkhawanazi (Bidvest Wits), Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City)

Midfielders: Bongani Zungu (Amiens), Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns), Dean Furman (Super Sport), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford), Tiyani Mabunda (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thulani Serero (Vitesse), Thembinkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Strikers: Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg), Percy Tau (Royal St Union), Lars Veldwijk (Sparta Rotterdam), Lebogang Maboe (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sibusiso Vilakazi (Mamelodi Sun downs)

 

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